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02/16/06 12:50 PM  
Phenolics in brews...
I have been using WLP500 yeast in a lot of my Belgians. The most recent one was a Tripple Clone of Chimay White that I brew (and tweak) for our wedding anniversary. The brew came out great but has a fair amount of phenolics. I pitched big (solids of 1gal) and fermented this one at 68degs in the frig. I aerated with O2 for about 2min before it started fermenting. I have about 22% Flaked Wheat in the recipe which also is suppose to add to the phenolics.

I've read that pitching large O2ing it *several* times help reduce the phenolic character. BLAM has 500 as being "spicy, light phenol, fruity" when fermented at 67-75degs.

Has anyone had experience O2ing it more? or should I try Flaked Barley in the next batch???


02/16/06 01:46 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...

I have never heard that increased oxygen and pitching rate will reduce phenolics--but there are a lot of things I have never heard. But here is another thought...

I would expect big pitches and lots of O2 would keep ester levels low--and then whatever phenolics are there may come to the forefront, tastewise. I have heard it suggested that the best way to accentuate the clovey/phenolic character when making weissbier is to minimize production of the banana ester.

If anything, I would expect more O2/yeast to accentuate the phenolic character even more by further reducing ester levels. Not knowing how to control phenolics themselves, if the phenolics don't quickly age out then I would try:

a. Cutting the pitch rate a bit (say 30%) to increase ester levels--but unless you are having zero troubles with solventy esters at your current pitch rate, may not be the first thing to try.

b. Minimizing phenolic precursors by reducing the flaked wheat levels, making sure you don't have too excessive nutrients/FAN in general, and avoiding mash rests at temps below 147F.

c. A different strain.


02/16/06 01:52 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
Hi dWiGhT, can you tell us more about how the phenols are expressing themselves? Their flavor impact has a broad range, from clovey to bandaids. Hopefully yours is more like the former!

I have heard of real dark grains, like roasted barley and peated malt, contributing to a phenol profile but never anything like flaked wheat or barley. Anyone have experience here?

Anyway, if the phenol profile you are getting is in line with the specs of the yeast, then the reality may well be it is not the optimum yeast for you. I mean maybe its just doing what it is supposed to do.

Eric K
02/16/06 02:05 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
I've found that WLP500 produces significant amounts of clove-like phenolics, especially when fermentation temperatures are low (60-65F)and unmalted wheat or spelt is part of the grain bill. You may want to avoid the Flaked wheat next time and use a Westmalle strain of yeast(WLP530 540 550) rather than the Chimay strain (WLP500)if your shooting for a less fruity, less phenolic beer profile.

Wheat malt provides an excellent environment for clove-like phenolic development. I'm not sure about the oxygen, but it's a possible covariate. The answer would be in: "New brewing lager beer" by Greg Noonan and/or "Brew like of Monk" by Stan Hieronymus.

02/16/06 02:31 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
>>I would expect big pitches and lots of O2 would keep ester levels low--and then whatever phenolics are there may come to the forefront, tastewise.<<

Hey, nice point Matt. Hadn't thought of that.

>>Wheat malt provides an excellent environment for clove-like phenolic development.<<

I've never heard that Eric. Is it a protien thing?

Eric K
02/16/06 03:40 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...

Wheat contributes less FAN (free amino nitrogen)than barley. Nitrogen is necessary for yeast cell growth and less than normal amounts of nitrogen can result in the yeast giving off-flavors....like clove. I need to double check on this logic, but I think I'm on the right track. Eric Warner (German wheat beer, beer style series book) has some insight into this. I'll give the book a look over and get back to you.

02/17/06 09:21 AM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
the phenolics I am getting are the banana/clove type. I find them enjoyable in a Heffe but not that much in my Belgians (well, it depends what she is wearing-<g>).

The info on the Wheat and O2ing came from the Wizard in BYO section... I need to dig that out again.

>avoid the Flaked wheat next time and use a

>Westmalle strain of yeast(WLP530 540 550)

>rather than the Chimay strain (WLP500)...

Got a "tripple" that I used 530 on but unfortunately I "accidentally" miscalculated the FG... I now have a 12%ABV brew mellowing... figure it will be ok to tap my the summer. Right now it is pretty hot but no taste of phenolics right now (if you can get past the alcohol taste).

I would know that 500 has a "slight" phenolic but from the feedback I am guessing that the Flaked Wheat (3lbs!) added to the bottom line. My goal was a Chimay Cinq Cents type brew... It ended up very good but more phenolic then the original.

I am going to drop the Wheat next time and O2 more before it starts fermenting.

What's the lowest temp anyone tried with WLP500? I was thinking about 64deg next time to see what flavor profile I get.


02/17/06 01:37 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
A couple of thoughts...

I may be misreading your post Dwight, but it sounds like you are lumping banana and clove together as "phenolics." The banana is an ester, rather than a phenolic, and there are pretty solid ways of controlling it--if you want to. To do so, keep cell walls as healthy as possible for as long as possible by pitching big and aerating multiple times.

The clove is indeed a phenolic, and I have less insight into controlling phenols in general. But if it is really a clove flavor, I believe that (in addition to yeast strain)this is tied to levels of ferulic acid in the wort, which is higher in worts that have wheat and/or low-temp mash rests. So again, I'd cut a lot of the wheat and make sure you're not doing low-temp rests.

BTW the description of WLP500 (spicy, light phenol, fruity) is a little strange, since to me "spicy" = "phenol".


Eric K
02/17/06 04:38 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
I did a bit more reading in Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" book and found some interesting facts:

The phenolic substance that primarily contributes to a clove-like flavor is 4-vinyl guaiacol, a derivative of ferulic acid. The variables that increase the perception/amounts of 4-vinyl guaiacol are fementation 1) temperature (increases with higher temperatures), 2) fermentation vessel shape(higher in open square fermentors), and the use of speise for priming (more when speised). Apparently, the percentage of wheat in the grist is not a positive linear trend....so to say that wheat contributues to an increase in phenols may be a bit of a generalization. Warner states that the highest concentration of 4-vinyl guaiacol are found when 1/3 of the grist is wheat. He further states that wheat has more carbonic acids, which are precursors to phenolic substances.

<What's the lowest temp anyone tried with WLP500?>

I've had mine ferment as low as 60F.

02/18/06 01:23 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
Thanks guys! Lots of great info!!

I'm going to try reducing/elimating


02/18/06 01:25 PM  
Re: Phenolics in brews...
[hit wrong key]

...wheat and O2 it more pre-fermentation.


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